Venter to make Springboks Test bow at Twickenham


Cheetahs captain Francois Venter will make his Test debut for South Africa on Saturday, when Allister Coetzee's men face England at Twickenham.

The centre delivered an impressive display in last weekend's 31-31 draw with the Barbarians at Wembley, scoring the Springboks' fourth try.

That fixture was not a full international, but Venter will now be given the opportunity to earn a first Test cap as one of only five players retained from the Barbarians contest.

Tendai Mtawarira, Pieter-Steph du Toit, Rudy Paige and Pat Lambie are the other men to have kept their place, with Coetzee predictably reverting to his strongest possible line-up after fielding an experimental side for the first match of the Boks' European tour.

"I believe we have selected the best available team for this Saturday. We have a long list of injured loose forwards, with all of Roelof Smit, Marcell Coetzee, Francois Louw, Jaco Kriel, Siya Kolisi and Sikhumbuzo Notshe injured," explained the head coach.

"England have a lot of belief at the moment ... they are definite favourites, but we are looking forward to another huge battle against them.

"The challenge this week will definitely start up front as the English pack paved the way for their series win over the Wallabies in Australia. It will be a physical challenge and the set-piece battle could prove to be decisive."

Veteran wing Bryan Habana is not yet ready to return from a knee injury, but appears likely to be fit for next weekend's meeting with Italy.


South Africa team to face England: Willie le Roux, Ruan Combrinck, Francois Venter, Damian de Allende, JP Pietersen, Pat Lambie, Rudy Paige; Tendai Mtawarira, Adriaan Strauss, Vincent Koch, Eben Etzebeth, Lood de Jager, Willem Alberts, Pieter-Steph du Toit, Warren Whiteley.

Replacements: Bongi Mbonambi, Steven Kitshoff, Lourens Adriaanse, Franco Mostert, Nizaam Carr, Faf de Klerk, Johan Goosen, Lionel Mapoe.